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2021 Simchat Torah Honorees

Hatan Torah - John Botzum

I was born in Akron, Ohio in 1958, the fifth child of Thomas and Ramona Botzum. My dad worked in the automotive industry while my mother was a homemaker. I earned a Master’s degree in pure mathematics from The University of Akron and eventually did my doctoral studies in pure mathematics at George Washington University. In my mid-twenties I discovered a third and abiding passion ( the first two being sports and mathematics), contract bridge. It was through a bridge that I met my wife Miriam, who coincidentally was also an aspiring mathematician.

  We were married in 1991 and had two daughters; Shira in 1996 and Alexandra ( Lexie) in 1998. Between 1994 and 2000 I had a variety of jobs; lecturer at George Washington, car salesman, options trader on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, and high school teacher.  Miriam’s first position after graduate school was with  Cedar Crest College in 2000 and brought us to Allentown.

  Miriam was reared Modern Orthodox while I was reared in a religious Catholic family ( I was named after two of my uncles both of whom were priests). When I met Miriam I had not practiced my religion since I was 13 and while not interested in religion I had agreed to create a Jewish home for our children. As the years passed I gradually became interested in Judaism and by the time we moved to Allentown my interest had grown to such an extent that religious conversion was on my mind and in my heart every day. In 2002 I went before a bais din and became a Jew.

   For the last 19  years, I have worn the hats that many Beth EL congregants wear: board member, Chevra Kaddisha member, minyan maker, and Torah reader to name a few. My love of Judaism, much like my love for my wife and daughters, has only deepened with the passage of time. I look forward to many more years of learning, celebrating, and worshiping with the Allentown Jewish community. I am humbled by this honor Beth El has chosen to bestow upon me.

Kallah B'reishit - Maia Gould

Maia Gould is a 3rd generation volunteer at Temple Beth El.  Her earliest memories include Shabbat morning services and lunch with friends and family at the synagogue on Hamilton Street, Shabbat mornings at the JCC, and then the exciting move to Springhouse Road. 

 Maia’s love of music began with Miss Nellie at the JCC preschool and continued through years of singing with the Junior Choir at TBE.  When she was no longer a religious school student she began to volunteer as Miss Nellie’s assistant, helping the next generation of students learn to sing all the classic TBE songs.  She found her true voice participating in musical theater with Stagemaker’s at the J as well as PYT. 

 Currently, you can find Maia leading prayers on Shabbat morning, reading Torah or Haftorah, acting as Gabbai with her mother or Popop, teaching in the religious school, and tutoring students.  Maia has also had the honor of following in her Popop’s footsteps by chanting Shacharit on the high holidays and also helping the Rabbi with music for the family service on the second day of Rosh HaShanah.  

Simchat Torah Programming 



Meeting ID: 824 7533 7862

Passcode: Torah


What you'll need:

Bring your props:
A "Torah" (or siddur, chumash, tanach, small Torah, or dance near a mezuzah)
A Tallit - to wrap yourself and your children for our special aliyah.
A dancing prop - like a feather, a scarf, a percussion instrument - anything fun to enhance your dancing for the Torah!

5782 Schedule of Services



Shemini Atzeret     Tuesday, September 28, 2021


          Service - Yizkor                     Rabbi Moshe Re’em/Shari Spark        9:30 am



Erev Simchat Torah    Tuesday, September 28, 2021


         Simchat Torah Service             Zoom Meeting               Rabbi Moshe Re’em/Shari Spark           6:45 pm

          Simchat Torah Program         Zoom Meeting                 Rabbi Moshe Re’em/Shari Spark           7:00 pm

                  Steve Weintraub       


          Simchat Torah     Wednesday, September 29, 2021

          Service                                         Rabbi Moshe Re’em/Shari Spark       9:00 am                                                                                                         




Additional Information (click on the box):

Thu, October 28 2021 22 Cheshvan 5782